British motorcycle manufacturers - E
Last update June 6, 2003
|Eadie||Founded in 1889. Made motorcycles under their subsidiary Royal Enfield starting in 1904. Albert Eadie was a founder of Royal Enfield.|
|EMC||Ehrlich Motor Company, founded in 1946 by Dr. Josef Ehrlich who moved from Vienna to England before WW2. Designed his own unique two-stroke motorcycles (singles), including racing models which won several events over the next 25 years. Production stopped or reduced in 1952. His 125cc was considered among the fastest of its size in the early 1960s. In 1963 he made a water-cooled 125cc twin. Ehrlich left in 1967, but the company continued fitfully until 1977.|
|ETA||1921. Three-cylinder radial engine with shaft drive.|
Excelsior was Britain's first motorcycle manufacturer, starting production in 1896. Started as a bicycle company making Penny Farthings in 1874 in Coventry, under their original name, Bayliss, Thomas and Co. They started putting Minerva engines on bicycles in 1896 and built their own 'motor bicycle' in that year, although they continued to use outside engines (JAP and Blackburne) in most models. They changed the company name to Excelsior Motor Co. in 1910. In 1914, they offered a JAP-powered twin. A deal to supply the Russian Imperial government with motorcycles ended with the Revolution and Excelsior wound up with an excess inventory as a result.
The Walker family (father Reginald ands son Eric) took over after WW1 and made a range of motorcycles from 98 to 1,000cc, mostly powered by JAP, Blackburne and Villiers engines, plus an 850cc Condor engine. The new company put more effort in competition and racing. To avoid confusion with the American maker of the same name, they called themselves the "British Excelsior."
Their first major racing success was in 1929 when they took the Lightweight TT race on a B14, soon to be their most popular model. Excelsior specialized in small-size engine bikes and production racers like the complex but invincible 250cc Mechanical Marvel, which won the Lightweight TT in 1933. But the company wasn't doing well.
The four-valve 250cc Manxman was released in 1935, later produced in 350 and 500cc sizes, as well as a 250cc model with fully-enclosed, water-cooled engine. In 1937 they made a 98cc Autobyke, the forerunner of modern mopeds and built a 98cc Sprite for Corgi. After the war, they used Villiers engines to make the 250cc Viking and in 1949 the Talisman, a smooth two-stroke with 180-degree crank. A later 328cc twin-carb sports version didn't sell well. Excelsior last manufactured a motorcycle in 1964 and folded in '65. Britax, a car accessory company bought the name and produced limited numbers of Britax-Excelsior machines in the late 1970s.
There was another American firm of the same name, which made motorcycles from 1907, but was taken over by Henderson in 1931. The American Excelsior made larger bikes, including the Super X, a 750cc V-twin in the mid 1920s.
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